Ford Motor Co.'s Turkish unit targets a 50% increase in U.S. sales in 2011 with the anticipation that demand for its taxi model will rise, according to CEO Nuri Otay.
Ford is a finalist in a competition to design a replacement for New York's 13,237-taxi fleet. The other finalists are Nissan Motor Co. and Karsan Otomotiv of Turkey.
Otay said that Ford Otomotiv Sanayi AS has already been selling its Transit Connect van to be used as taxis and service vehicles in U.S. cities including Los Angeles, Washington, Boston and Chicago.
On Dec. 14, Otay revealed that he expects sales for this model, which is currently being produced at a plant in Kocaeli, Turkey, to increase to 30,000 units.
Otay said that in 2011, wholesale and retail taxi-van sales to the U.S. market will increase over the rise in demand from taxi companies as well as from post offices for the Transit Connect.
Each U.S. city has several taxi companies and these cities constantly reviews their procurement plans.
What’s common among the entries of the three finalists (Nissan, Karsan, and Ford) is that they’re all offering van-like designs that have improved fuel efficiency, have bigger leg room and trunk space than the city taxis currently on the roads.